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Protect yourself from 'juice jacking' when you charge your devices in public places

The Los Angeles County District Attorney shared a PSA about how hackers are targeting public charging docks to get access to your personal information.

CLEVELAND — Airport docking stations and hotel USB ports are among the latest ways our personal data can be compromised by hackers.

It's called “juice jacking," and hackers are using our need to stay connected to gain access to our personal information, Los Angeles District Attorney Luke Sisak said in a public service announcement.

"Be warned a free charge could end up draining your bank account," Sisak said.

The way it works is criminals are loading malware onto charging stations or cables they leave plugged in at the stations. 

Once people plug in to charge their batteries, that malware can then infect the phones and other electronic devices of those unsuspecting users, according to Sisak.

"Within minutes of being plugged in, the malware could lock the device or send private information like passwords, addresses or even a full backup of the phone directly to the criminal," Sisak said.

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To protect yourself from this type of fraud, Sisak shared the following tips:

  • Use an AC power outlet, not a USB charging station.
  • Take AC and car chargers for your devices when traveling.
  • Consider buying a portable charger for emergencies.